The Use of Instruments: Sacred Vows or Sacred Cows?

The topic of instrumental worship services has been tossed around among Churches of Christ for years now. All sides have followers within our fellowship. We have the “neh” sayers, the “yeh” sayers, and the “who cares” sayers. All hold their own reasons and argue from unique angles. All the commotion seems to be around whether the omission is an act of a “sacred vow” between us and God in worship that we will not use anything but our voices (leading to the question then if clapping, microphones, and harmony mimicking strings is allowable) or if the omission is meaningless and all this commotion is over “sacred cows” that have been held onto (which begs the question if the author intended to leave it out for a reason and why the church for hundreds of years seems to have left instruments out). The question, however, we must ask involves not their conclusions but how they have come to that conclusion and where have they gotten their sources. I am afraid too many make statements (on all sides of the issue) without having completely studied the matter. Many say the Bible gives no command for them and leave it at that, writing it off as a heresy. Others claim the omission of direction on this issue allows for such worship styles and in fact encourages this type of artistic expression. While I am not intending to write on this matter, nor to solve the problem once and for all; I would like to point you to an article by John Mark Hicks which has been well articulated and researched entitled Instrumental Worship. Click HERE to read his lengthy article and please comment on my post with your thoughts. However, if you comment, please remember this is a friendly discussion and accusations/rudeness will not be tolerated.


  1. Josh,

    Its been over a year since you wrote this article. I appreciate what you are calling people to do in searching and coming to conclusions through scripture. My question I have for you is, now over a year later, where would you land? The discussion can’t really move forward without someone taking a position. But I would love to hear your thoughts.

    • I do not believe instrumental worship is sinful. However, I do not believe it should be forced as it always causes more harm than good. I also do not think it is the magic bullet that automatically grows a church as there are many instrumental churches declining just like acappella congregations.

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